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Should the Central Subway go to the Presidio?

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SFMTA mulls extending in-progress subway to North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, and beyond

Twin tunnels in the Central Subway, illuminated by turquoise lighting. Photos by Robert Pierce

The upcoming Central Subway is not yet complete, and won’t ferry passengers until 2020, making for a nearly 10-year construction process—but should its construction continue even longer?

This isn’t a rhetorical question, as the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is currently gauging public interest in extending the line beyond its current terminus.

Right now the 1.7-mile underground byway stretches from the (above ground) Fourth and Brannan Station to northern end of Chinatown. But the 29-year planning history of the project is rife with speculation about additional stations to the north.

Possible destinations include North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Marina, Cow Hollow, and Presidio, according to the transit agency.

Tunnel construction on the Central Subway line extended far beyond the Chinatown terminus. Boring the extra distance was a practical consideration—the gigantic tunneling machines needed to advance to a place where they could be extracted—but “these tunnels can also be used to further extend rail service in the future.”

Future riders with current opinions can access SFMTA’s online survey here.

Questions include what goals commuters want the city to focus on—capacity, reliability, speed, et cetera—opinions about potential stops, and even a map to suggest future station locales.

The city estimates the the existing Central Subway will service 35,000 riders per day. The line broke ground in 2010. Initially slated slated for “substantial completion” in February 2018, the new metro line will not run until mid-2020.